Earthly riches mean nothing in heaven

Published 5:00 am Sunday, July 7, 2024

Pastor Chuck Swindoll wrote about a lady named Bertha Adams who was seventy-one years old.
She died alone in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Easter Sunday, 1976. The coroner’s report read: “Cause of death — malnutrition.” After wasting away to fifty pounds she could no longer stay alive.
When the state authorities made their preliminary investigation of her place, they found a veritable “pigpen… the biggest mess you can imagine.”
One seasoned inspector declared he had never seen a dwelling in greater disarray.
The pitiable woman had begged food from neighbors and gotten what clothes she had from the Salvation Army.
From all appearances, she was a penniless recluse, a pitiful and forgotten widow.
But such was not the case. Amid the jumble of her unclean, disheveled belongings, two keys were found which led officials to safe deposit boxes at two different local banks.
The discovery was absolutely unbelievable.
The first box contained over 700 stock certificates, plus hundreds of other valuable certificates, bonds, and solid financial securities, and cash amounting to nearly $200,000.
The second box had more currency — $600,000.
Adding the net worth of both boxes, the woman had well over a million dollars.
Bertha Adams’s hoarding was tragic, and her death was an unusually grim testimony to the shriveled focus on her life. Her great wealth did her no good whatsoever. Its proper use could have meant good health for her and many others.
Jesus taught, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)
Jesus was not condemning money or riches. He was simply instructing His followers to be careful of what they value.
The simple truth is: we spend our time on things that are important to us– the things we love.
But if we love the wrong things, then we’re wasting our time and our lives!
When a person loves earthly things so much that he can’t get along without them, he opens himself to much suffering, both physical and mental.
Some people, for example, have taken foolish risks to keep their riches intact.
They have died rushing into burning houses or they were killed because they stubbornly resisted armed robbers.
Others, when forced to part with their wealth, have been thrown into agonizing despair, even to the point of suicide.
In 1975, six armed gunmen broke into the deposit boxes in a London bank and stole valuables worth more than $7 million.
One lady, whose jewelry was appraised at $500,000 wailed, “Everything I had was in there. My whole life was in that box.”
What a sad commentary on her values.
Dale Carnegie once said, “Some things in the world are far more important than wealth; one of them is the ability to enjoy simple things.”
What about you?
Are the things you value temporary or eternal?
You see, artificial intelligence and the internet can’t save you, all the world’s awards will rust and decay, and you can’t take earthly wealth with you when you die.
The only thing that will last is what you’ve done for God.
When we begin to value what God values then we’ll have true riches!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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